Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'Rubber Man Syndrome' turns man into real-life Gumby

Stacy Lipson writes: Todd Shaeffer of Philadelphia can bend his fingers completely backward, fold his ears forward so they stay that way and perform other cringe-worthy feats that would be impossible for most of us.

“I see it as a blessing,” says Shaeffer, 27. “I used to think I was a superhero.”

As a kid, Shaeffer impressed his friends with stunts like spinning his head around 180 degrees to look over his back and wrapping his arms around his entire waist and touching his fingers together. While it sounds like something out of a circus show, Shaeffer suffers from Type 1 Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic disorder also called Rubber Man Syndrome that affects the connective tissue. .

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